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Russia told to pay $50bn in Yukos case
A court based in The Hague has ordered Russia to pay about US$50 billion to a group of former shareholders of the Yukos oil company, formerly owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, freed last year after eight years in prison on tax-evasion and embezzlement charges. The court said officials at state-owned Rosneft, which acquired most of Yukos's assets, were working for Russian President Vladimir Putin in destroying Yukos. (Jul 29, '14)

Vietnam buckles under Chinese pressure
Vietnam's failure to counter China's months-long placement of an oil rig in disputed waters with any meaningful gesture threatens the Hanoi government's legitimacy. If the public believes that it capitulated - particularly at a time of slowing economic growth - this could spark demonstrations aimed at both China and Vietnam's Communist Party-led government.
- Zachary Abuza (Jul 29, '14)

An era of thugs
At some stage in recent history, governments started to outsource operational aspects of geopolitical strategy to gangs of robbers, murderers and nutcases - Washington in Afghanistan to oppose Russia, Russia in Ukraine now are just two examples - and are increasingly abrogating greater responsibilities to them. It is a very dangerous practice, and where this all ends is anyone's conjecture. (Jul 28, '14)

Why no Arab state cries for Gaza

No Arab State has had the guts to denounce Israel's use of "made-in-the-USA" death machines to rain hellfire on the civilian population of Gaza. Arab autocrats, viewing the world through their concern over how they can continue to cling to power, are too scared for the survival of their regimes to proffer any daring proposals to resolve the Palestinian conflict.
- Ehsan Ahrari (Jul 28, '14)

The resistance will not be crushed
The destruction in Gaza is overwhelming as the loss of life has climbed during nearly three weeks of battle. Historical inevitability makes it unlikely that the people of the strip will surrender. With even a quick scan of decades of war, it can be said with conviction that Israel cannot possibly subdue Gaza.
- Ramzy Baroud (Jul 28, '14)

The Pashtun factor in Pakistan's insurgency

Political scientists, sociologists and anthropologists, whose wont is to look for "cultural" reasons behind the use of violence to advance causes in the Af-Pak borders, have held up Pashtuns for scrutiny. Facts on the ground, however, show it is the absence of the basic necessities of life and any political stake in the system that leads people to turn to the Taliban and al-Qaeda for answers.
- Luqman Saeed (Jul 28, '14)

Pakistan's proclivity for war
The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World by T V Paul
Author T V Paul adds to the numerous unflattering descriptions of Pakistan with his depiction of a "warrior state" whose security forces have outgrown all other institutions and activities and where radical Islamization and its attendant obscurantism have been the consequences of state policy. His explanation for why this continues is elaborate and thought-provoking.
- Ehsan Ahrari (Jul 28, '14)

Palestine, war and lethal reporting
For Palestinians, the routine terror of the Israeli land-theft, day after day and for decades, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison. Two films, one about the Palestinians and a group of Israelis united in the struggle to be free, and the other about the journalist struggle to remain independent in war zones, highlight the need for courage under fire. (Jul 29, '14)

Modi courts Chinese with maiden budget
Narendra Modi has defied entrenched views over Chinese investment - and his own campaign warnings over China's "expansionist mindset" - by using the Union budget this month to encourage greater Chinese participation in India's infrastructure sector. Chinese firms will welcome the Indian prime minister's move but should prepare for intense public scrutiny over labor rights and environmental norms. - Santosh Pai (Jul 28, '14)

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A chessboard
drenched in blood

The MH17 tragedy may have been a horrendous mistake, but it may also have been a desperate gambit by the Kiev minions of the Empire of Chaos. Washington has been quick off the blocks to ignite and in theory win the spin war to persuade the world that Russia's hand was wittingly or otherwise behind the downing of the civilian aircraft. Moscow, more rationally, is seeking the facts first, before pointing fingers of blame. - Pepe Escobar (Jul 23, '14)

The charge of the Atlanticist Brigade

No credible version of events points to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine as intentional mass murder or terrorism, and with international experts now getting access to the black box, there seems to be little the Atlanticist Brigade can use to point the finger at Moscow. Still, expect sanctions on Russia to follow, and for the reverberations to reach east all the way to China. - Peter Lee (Jul 22, '14)

Orwell alive in Palestine, Ukraine
Western coverage of contemporary events from Palestine to Ukraine reveals that Orwell's 1984 is only too real in today's world. Yet as Leni Riefenstahl knew only too well, the "messages" the media carry of government atrocities depend not on "orders from above" but on a "submissive void" in the population as a whole, not least in the "intelligentsia". (Jul 22, '14)

Hardliners maneuver
over Iran talks extension

Hardline Iranian factions are maintaining pressure on the government over potential concessions in any nuclear deal reached with world powers, following an amicable extension arrangement reached last week. By exaggerating the level of opposition in the establishment towards a long-term agreement, the conservative establishment hopes to prevent normalization of ties with the US. - Mahan Abedin (Jul 22, '14)

How US policies
sealed Iraq's fate

Strikingly devoid of comprehension of the forces at play in Iraq and the region, post-invasion US policy in Iraq followed a simplistic dichotomy of "good guys" versus "bad guys". Distressingly aware of what was happening to their country, Iraqis have long dreaded that the destabilization and sectarian disintegration would lead to the mass bloodletting that's now been unleashed.
- Dahr Jamail (Jul 22, '14)

It was Putin's missile!
Here's the spin war verdict on the latest Malaysia Airlines tragedy. It's "terrorism" perpetrated by "pro-Russian separatists" in Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is the main culprit. End of story. Anyone who believes otherwise, shut up. Why? Because the CIA said so. Unlike the United States, Russia will take its time to know the basic facts of what, where, and who, and engage on proving the truth to Washington's spin.
- Pepe Escobar (Jul 19, '14)

The war Israel cannot win
The targeting of Hamas in Gaza is an Israeli attempt to challenge a narrative that is no longer about the strip and its siege anymore, but the entirety of Palestine, no matter what side of the Israeli "separation wall" Palestinians live. While the hurdles to unity currently look insurmountable, if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparks another massive revolt, that will be the kind of war he cannot win.
- Ramzy Baroud (Jul 16, '14)

US gets dream team in Kabul, almost

US Secretary of State John Kerry secured significant steps towards a resolution of the contested vote for the Afghanistan presidency over the weekend - and revealed Washington's secret hand to unite both candidates as a ''dream team'' to follow Hamid Karzai's rule. Yet, the perceived slight of the incumbent could have unpleasant repercussions for Washington in the tricky weeks that lie ahead for the transition of power. - M K Bhadrakumar (Jul 15, '14)

BRICS against Washington consensus
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa come together today to play top class geopolitical ball with the launch a development bank for the emerging world. The new institution has the power to leave the World Bank in the dust, never mind challenge the order of the Washington consensus that's been received wisdom since the end of World War II.
- Pepe Escobar (Jul 15, '14)

Central Asia clash
mars China gas plan

A fresh outbreak of border violence in Central Asia has raised doubts about China's plan to start building a gas pipeline through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan this year.
- Michael Lelyveld

Business and free markets
Traditionally, business was the most important political backer of free markets. The US Chamber of Commerce, however, now reflects an agenda that is thoroughly detrimental to the interests of ordinary people and to the overall US economy.
- Martin Hutchinson

US retreats post-haste
from Libya

The closure of the United States Embassy in Libya was probably overdue, as the North African country has descended into anarchy. The wheel has turned full circle since the Western invasion of Libya three years ago under the NATO flag, pushing the agenda of "regime change".
- M K Bhadrakumar

The surprising enthusiasm of hordes of Wonderlanders about our USA heroes' adventure in Brazil has revealed a passion for a sport traditionally demeaned, ignored and disrespected by "real 'merikans," whose devotion to Anything-Invented-Here and antipathy for Everything Else has almost been a definition of Red, White and Blue patriotism.
H Campbell
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. It was Putin's missile!

2. A chessboard drenched in blood

3. Orwell alive in Palestine, Ukraine

4. The charge of the Atlanticist Brigade

5. BRICS against Washington consensus

6. How US policies sealed Iraq's fate

7. Losses mount in China loan fraud

8. How Israel turned tragedy into opportunity

9. Ravaging Gaza: The war Israel cannot win

10. World War I still bad news

(Jul 25-27, 2014)


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